Manchester City’s five-goal performance gave Pep Guardiola’s team full control of the Premier League title race. It also gave Newcastle United and Eddie Howe a lot more to think about.
Raheem Sterling scored the first and last goals of the game, and Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, and Phil Foden each scored once to give Madrid and City all three points and end their Champions League run.
Even though the Magpies weren’t always beaten badly, their late defensive collapse after a lot of pressure from the home team showed how much better the Abu Dhabi-funded team is than the rich but unmoving Saudi-backed Magpies.
Last week, when Newcastle lost to Liverpool, Howe made three changes to the team.
Jamaal Lascelles, Sean Longstaff, and Chris Wood were all put back into the starting lineup. Fabian Schar, who got a knock, was moved to the bench, and Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock were not in the team at all.
United didn’t seem scared in the beginning and played as hard as the home team. When the Magpies moved the ball well, found Allan Saint-Maximin in tight spots, and worked the flanks, they looked dangerous.
But when playing against a team like City, the game can change in a matter of seconds.
On minute 19, Saint-Maximin, who had been brought on for his attacking skills, didn’t pay attention to Joao Cancelo’s deep run, and Cancelo’s header back was expertly steered onto Sterling’s head.
As Newcastle tried to tie the score again, Wood, who had missed the last two games, had a moment to think about something else.
Saint-Maximin made a jinking move on the right and sent in a searching cross. Wood, who was free in the area, headed the ball in to tie the game.
As has been the case since he moved from Burnley to City in January, his weak header lacked power and floated into Ederson’s hands.
In meetings like this, visitors don’t get many chances, so when they do, they have to take advantage of them.
Lascelles headed a corner kick from Matt Targett back across the goal, and it looked like the shot was headed for the bottom corner. However, it deflected off Bruno Guimaraes and into the path of Wood, who didn’t miss this time. However, the offside flag stopped United from scoring.
From a well-worked corner routine from right to left that was aimed at Ilkay Gundogan, Laporte made the visitors regret it. The German’s volley was saved by Martin Dubravka, but Laporte was able to score from close range after Dubravka had mishandled Gundogan’s shot.
After holding their own for the first 45 minutes, they couldn’t do anything right in the second half.
Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish both found a lot of space on the left side of the field. The Belgian was in great, fluid form.
He set up City’s third goal with a low corner into the box, and Rodri jumped the highest to send the home crowd wild.
Newcastle got a boost when Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier came off the bench. However, Trippier showed how rusty he was when Grealish gave him a clean pair of heels, which Foden used to shoot past Dubravka as the game got away from them.
Sterling found a spot on the left side of the Newcastle defence for the last play of the afternoon, which made it five.
Newcastle’s season has never been judged by how they did against the best teams in their division, but that won’t be the case for long.
This, like last week’s loss to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, showed that there is a huge gap between Newcastle and the top of the English game, which, as Howe has said, can’t be closed in one night.